An engineer by trade, Wyndle Young enjoys math and science, but he also has an affinity for music, entertainment and sports.
That combination has come in handy for Young. He has shaped a successful career on the customer-side of the energy business over the past 27 years by blending his technical and social interests.
Now, he is developing a new business strategy for small and mid-size commercial customers as manager of Mid/Small Commercial & Industrial Sales & Services for OPPD. The department develops, implements and manages core business and product and service programs for approximately 40,000 commercial customers.
Young joined the utility full-time as a test and performance engineer in 1994. He had previously worked for OPPD as a seasonal and co-op student while attending Iowa State University.
He has held a number of roles at OPPD that give him a unique perspective on issues facing business customers. He’s worked as a technical services engineer, account executive and project director of both T&D business applications and customer initiatives. Along the way, he’s partnered with nearly every area of the utility to find solutions and get things done.
Young’s recent involvement with evolving utility issues also gives him insight into how the industry could impact businesses in the future. This includes roles in the utility’s Integrated Energy Marketplace and Community Solar strategy teams, leading the outage management and field service management software integration team, service regulation review team, and net metering policies and legislation.
“We really are their business partner,” Young said. “Our team is here to support our customers in any way possible. That goes beyond just the slogan ‘Your Energy Partner’ and providing low-cost, affordable, reliable and environmentally sensitive electric service.”
Young and his team work to ensure that customers can find answers and solutions to their energy needs through a positive customer experience.
“We approach projects with a customer-focused perspective. We want them to know our team is their customer-advocate. They can depend on us to ensure that the business hears their voice,” Young said.
Finding solutions and resolving issues for customers requires an effective partnership with other OPPD teams.
Building strong teams seems to come naturally to Young. He coached a youth 13-and-under baseball team to a national championship in 2016.
“It really takes collaboration and teamwork to provide win-win outcomes for both OPPD and our customers,” said Young.
Over the years, a few projects stand out.
One was the historic Missouri River flooding in 2011. As an account executive, Young worked with the city of Omaha, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kiewit and Hawkins construction companies, along with five specialty engineering firms, on flood mitigation efforts for Eppley Airfield, which sits along the river.
This team had four key charges: determine elevation of key assets, monitor water levels of these assets, identify and repair levee damage, and dewaterize Eppley and surrounding areas where airport operations or safety were jeopardized.
Young coordinated OPPD’s effort to quickly build new electrical services, install 70 dewaterization wells around the perimeter and pump groundwater off the airfield, among other things. In more than a century of record-keeping, the river had never coped with more water than it did that spring and summer, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the time. The massive team effort kept the airfield dry while surrounding areas were under water.
Another memorable project involved an energy plant upgrade at Omaha’s Westroads Mall. This project involved decommissioning the mall’s diesel generation and boiler system and converting its central utility plant. The unique project had Young and the team working on both sides of the meter. They relocated distribution services and built a custom, automated throw-over switch that shifted energy from the transmission system to the customer’s utility room.
Never a dull moment
“I like the variety of work,” Young said. “I have been able to work on everything from service turn-on/off, new construction, business expansion, business attraction, alternative energy, energy efficiency, demand-side management and demand response, outage support and communication, community service, government and regulation, to education and marketing.
“You name it, our team probably has some part in it. It really keeps you excited about coming to work every day.”
A lifelong sports fan, Young devotes a lot of time coaching and mentoring kids. In addition to baseball, he also coaches football and basketball.
“I spend most of my time around sports when I am not at work,” said Young. “I have two very active boys, Aiden and Christian, involved in sports right now.”
On quieter days, Young still plays the saxophone, goes boating with his wife, Linda, or travels with his family.